Women are socialized to make men feel good. We’re socialized to “let you down easy.” We’re not socialized to say a clear and direct “no.” We’re socialized to speak in hints and boost egos and let people save face. People who don’t respect the social contract (rapists, predators, assholes, pickup artists) are good at taking advantage of this. “No” is something we have to learn. “No” is something we have to earn. In fact, I’d argue that the ability to just say “no” to something, without further comment, apology, explanation, guilt, or thinking about it is one of the great rites of passage in growing up, and when you start saying it and saying it regularly the world often pushes back. And calls you names.
I am bored and I am useless.
I was born of thicker stuff then this, but lately I have nothing to say that I haven’t said before.
No muse to ignite my mortal fight.
Words run like watered down glue, nothing really sticking because nothing seems particularly worth it.
The monotony of days is harmless.
Or as harmless as the useless can be.
Self care tipping on the edge of liberalism.
Just, just fuck off internal arguments of self worth.
Do I not deserve moments of silence,
or am I just drowning in tepid water?
What do those who are given everything really deserve, anyway?
When does introspection grow clusters and your test results are bad and you know you have been infected by the cancer of apathy- again- nothing I have not said before.
I have dregs of songs reminding me of that bursting, when your chest is full of everything that has ever happened ever so that words fall flat like the skins of balloons.
But lately my chest has been full of shallow steady breaths. I must keep reminding myself to breath deep to avoid the anxious suspicion that my uselessness is more harmful then I think it is.
That maybe my boredom is not just a symptom of comfort but of my weakness. And that maybe I am not strong enough for this fight.
But as she drunkenly swirls over her cigarette and tells me- that sounds nice but that fight is not for me- I remember-
Stillness is not weakness, it preparation for warfare. My body is my own and at its very tip I have tattooed a reminder.
To remember that with my privilege has positioned me to execute strategy, that I am fighting for freedom, and that my ever present self doubt and criticism is not a flaw but will fuel me to never stand still too long. To never stop on fighting.
But to do this I must embrace the balance, because only human hubris would have me think that I was above the rhythm of the ocean.
Three strong waves and then stillness. I let the waves grind my soft, school girl hands into the sand to remind myself that I am only human.
I cannot seem to get this show out of my head. I was laying in bed last night- wide awake as usual- and realized that I can break down the show into two main areas of critique:
1- It once again gives space for wealthy white women to tell their story. In NY of all places, one of the most diverse cities in the world. Now it is not the writers fault that they are portraying the lives of white women, for they are in fact white women. However, I find it hard to believe that in all of NY they are not talented writers whose voices are not that of the status quo. So as much as I want to hold the writers of this show accountable for their “post-racial” bullshit, it is important to also call HBO (and really our entire society) for continuing to value white, straight, cis voices over others.
2- Within the rich, white culture that Girls portrays this show normalizes abusive and unhealthy relationships. See piece below for more details. And yes some of the characters might be slightly larger then your normal stick thin actress but the show is hardly putting forth a radical new definition of beauty.
I think this show has gotten so far under my skin because Girls is not the normal schlock that I can simply write off as being too ridiculous to contemplate. This pseudo-reality that the writers have created has been championed as voice of modern 20-something women. Meaning, this portrayal of women is supposed to represent me. Meant to represent the women that I love- and that is something I will not stand for.
So I finally watched a couple episodes of Girls, the new HBO televisions show.
I just…don’t know where to start.
First is the supposedly funny, but no so humorous critique of privileged white women. I suppose the audience is supposed to relate with/feel a slight bashfulness at the blindly privileged lives that these women lead.
In reality the layers of privilege that these rich white women posses go basically unchecked- leaving me slightly nauseous at the narcissistic neurotic script.
The seemingly “endearing” moments went from bad to worse as the show begins to elaborate on the characters love lives.
Most of the sex scenes I found incredibly triggering, and the relationships themselves ranged from sacrificial to emotionally abusive.
How many times do we all have to watch women not respect themselves, and instead of calling people out they just ‘bitch’ to their friends. Abuse becomes funny anecdotes for cliche nights out at the bar.
My opinion has also been tainted by the writers racists and insensitive comments on twitter.
After watching three episodes I noticed the only black person on the show was a old man on the street who cat called the main character.
Honestly, watching Girls made me feel disgusted. This is what we see, again, and again. I have seen Sex and the City back to back too many times over. Those gender roles and rigid ideas of sexuality and loves have taken me years to unlearn. And with a younger and slightly edgier cast we see it all again.
Women are their relationships.
Women are defined by their sexuality and sexual acts.
White women are the only people of value and purpose living in NY.
Irony somehow makes racism ‘okay’.
And abuse is just a small bump in the road towards true, monogamous, hetero love.
So in conclusion. I call bullshit on Girls. I am tired of only seeing white, wealthy women on TV. I am tired of abuse being normalized. I am tired of privilege being used as a tool for ironic “white people problem” jokes with no real accountability.
And I say this as someone who has watched almost every stupid drama/teen drama/anything on TV- I am tired of this bullshit.